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Lenten Resources at St. Peter’s

Lenten Resources at St. Peter’s

The forty days of Lent are a time when Christians join Jesus in the wilderness. It serves as a time for us to return to the Sacred Presence, to the God who has never left us, even if we have left God. Lent is a time to renew classic disciplines of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving (all done in secret), as a way of returning to our true life. All of this is designed to renew a right spirit within us and to prepare us for a deeper appreciation of Jesus’ passion (what he was most passionate about), his death, and ultimately his resurrection at Easter.

In 2021, of course, Lent will be different, since the pandemic prevents our gathering for many of the services and activities that we’ve come to expect and count on. Online worship will continue until it is safe for us to be in church together in significant numbers for extended periods of time. And, as long as that is true, Communion to Go will be made available to all who want it.

Meanwhile, staff and volunteers have prepared some (real, live, not digital!) materials for your Lenten Journey. Included among the materials is a booklet of selected Scripture, poetry/prose, and prayers. They are arranged around a theme from each of the Sunday gospels in Lent, together with a physical symbol for that theme. For example, the gospel for the first Sunday in Lent presents the story after Jesus’ baptism when he was led into the wilderness to face temptation and a period of fasting and preparation. Among your materials will be a small bag of sand to represent that wilderness. Take it out, tip it into a bowl, play with it, meditate with it. Let this be a guide for your own prayer life during that first week in Lent. The materials are free and no sign-up is needed. You can pick them up at church on Thursdays (11:00 AM – 1:00 PM) and on Sundays (10:00 AM to noon), beginning February 18, along with Communion to Go. The church sanctuary will also be open at that time for private prayer.

During Lent, St. Peter’s will also offer remote or online groups, including:

  • A weekly Wednesday morning contemplative service (read more);
  • Tuesday Evening Bible Study at 6:00 PM via Zoom (read more);
  • Daily prayer with the brothers at the Society of Saint John the Evangelist (read more); and
  • Rite of Reconciliation (contact the rector at rector.stpetersrockland@gmail.com).

Lent can be an especially rich season spiritually. We are a precious community of faith, one body, held together in the Love of Christ. Let your prayer this Lent be yet another way we remain connected in Love.

 

Come, Pray – The Prayer I Need This Day

Come, Pray – The Prayer I Need This Day

A program of prayer for Lent.

After the last year in which churches around the world have been closed and congregations scattered, the brothers of Saint John The Evangelist invite you to “Come, Pray.” Join them in the receiving the daily gift of prayer – at home or wherever you find yourself. Across the weeks of Lent, listen in as the brothers discuss the rich and varied ways we pray, together in church and in our personal prayer.

The series is centered on a weekly 20-minute video. The brothers invite participants to explore and experience diverse prayer practices alongside them, joining their regular, live-streamed worship, special services, and online teachings.

You can find out more, access the videos, and subscribe if you wish on their website: ssje.org/comepray

Opening to Grace

Opening to Grace

The Community Speakers Series organized by the St. Peter’s Pastoral Care Committee is offering a new program titled “Opening to Grace.” The program will be held on Sunday, February 7, 2021, at 2:00 PM via Zoom. Presenters will be Rev. Abby Pettee and Dr. Kirsten Staples.

Click on the button below to join the Zoom meeting on February 7. PLEASE NOTE that the “doors” to the Zoom meeting will be open at 1:30 p.m. You are invited to enter beginning at 1:45 p.m.; the program itself will begin at 2 p.m. as advertised.

To describe the program, the presenters share this quote from Anne Lamott’s Travelling Mercies, Some Thoughts on Faith: “Grace meets us where we are, but does not leave us where it found us.” Through conversational sharing and discussion we will consider how significant health events and grief can be a catalyst for opening to and receiving grace.

Rev. Abby Pettee, ordained in the Episcopal tradition, has served for the past 10 years as lead chaplain through the spiritual care services department at Pen Bay Medical Center. She is part of an interdisciplinary team of healthcare providers on behalf of holistic well-being. Abby values ecumenism and interfaith dialog on behalf of helping to cultivate safe and empowering opportunities for learning from one another, and partnering. Prior to healthcare chaplaincy, Abby was an inner city mental health care provider and advocate. She has a passion for folks who find themselves on the margins of our society because of mental health difference and stigmatization. Abby enjoyed studying recently at Boston College because of Jesuit values being deeply embedded into her coursework. Service to others and care for the whole person was emphasized.

Kirsten Staples, MD is a board-certified internal medicine physician who has practiced at Pen Bay Medical Center for 20 years. She earned her medical degree at the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York. She was drawn to the University of Rochester’s focus on the biopsychosocial model of caring for patients. After completing her internal medicine residency training, she and her husband moved to midcoast Maine. She had the privilege of caring for primary care patients here in Knox county for 18 years before transitioning to caring for patients in the hospital. She currently is a hospitalist at Pen Bay Medical Center and values working with interdisciplinary teams including spiritual care.

There will be a time of open sharing followed by a short concluding discussion.

Future programs will cover end of life issues, family conversations, memory and cognitive decline. These topics surround difficult and sensitive issues that are important but often avoided in conversations even with close family members. Future dates in 2021 will be announced later.

The programs are free and open to the public.

Prayers for our Nation, from the National Cathedral

Prayers for our Nation, from the National Cathedral

In the two weeks leading up to the presidential inauguration, the National Cathedral will offer brief online prayers for our nation, together with interfaith and ecumenical colleagues, each day at 5:00 PM. We invite you to spend five minutes in prayers for safety, solace and national unity.

To join in these prayers go to the National Cathedral web site and you will find the link near the top of their home page. Find it here.

A Call to Prayer from Maine Bishop Thomas Brown

A Call to Prayer from Maine Bishop Thomas Brown

Bishop Thomas J. Brown issued the following call to prayer for our nation on January 6, 2021:

(Watch on Youtube.)

Dear friends, earlier this afternoon people stormed our nation’s capitol offices and are threatening both our lawmakers and our democratic process, and indeed the very understanding of what it means to live in a democracy.

We have long been a country and a people who have stood for the right and the principles on which peaceful demonstrations occur. And we denounce and we deplore what is happening right now.

The need for us to come together as a country and the need for us to understand each other is very great. But so is the need for leaders to denounce violence in every form.

Earlier this afternoon Presiding Bishop Curry led us in prayers and we have shared those with you, and I invite you to use those throughout this evening as well as in the days to come.

Tonight, I bid you to hold one other close, to light a candle, and join together (virtually or socially distant) along with the Diocese of Maine, the Maine Council of Churches, with Maine congregations, people of faith, and people of goodwill at 7pm for a candlelight prayer vigil.

We will be standing together in the Spirit (even if we are alone on our front porch), unified by our love of neighbor and Creator and by our commitment to establishing a peaceful and just community and nation where grace, dignity, respect, truth and compassion are protected and preserved.

For now, let us pray.

Save us, O God, from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way. When things are dark either in our own lives or in the life of our nation, stir our memory of those who have long-hoped in your Son, Jesus, those who found in him and his cross and rising again, a peace that surpasses understanding. At the same time, as you make us remember, equip us with the courage to work together to make everything and everybody shine with the new splendor of peace and harmony. We pray in your holy names, Amen. And now, may the blessing of God Almighty, the Creator, the Christ and the Holy Spirit be upon you and remain with you this night and forevermore. Amen.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Services at St. Peter’s

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Services at St. Peter’s

Christmas Eve

We will gather outside in front of St. Peter’s at 5:30 PM for an in-person Christmas Eve service. The usual CDC protocols will be in place: please maintain social distancing between family groups and wear a mask. We will take information for contact tracing. As we have in the past, I invite you to bring your own communion bread and wine. We will have some chairs to share with those who need support, but most of us please plan to stand for the (abbreviated) service. The current forecast is for cloudy skies with rain holding off until later. Hale and hearty, please bundle up and join us for this special Feast of the Nativity.

For those not wanting to venture forth, know that you can watch the Christmas Eve Service at St. Luke’s Cathedral in Portland with Bishop Brown preaching. This prerecorded service will “go live” at 5:00pm from the St. Luke’s LiveStream Page or from the St. Luke’s YouTube Page.

Christmas Day – 9:00 – 11:00am, Private Prayer in the Church

On Christmas Day the church sanctuary will be open for private prayer from 9:00 – 11:00 AM.  The church looks lovely with poinsettias and the crèche in place, and candles will be lit. We will continue to maintain CDC protocols: we will limit the numbers of people in the sanctuary at one time, contact tracing information will be taken, and we ask that you wear a mask and keep 6′ social distance between family groups. But you are welcome to come in, sit for quiet contemplation, kneel at the altar, and receive holy communion from the reserved sacrament.  

A Christmas Day service from St. Luke’s Cathedral will also be available for viewing at 10:00am. You can watch it from the St. Luke’s LiveStream Page.

St. Peter’s Community Speakers Series on Difficult Conversations

St. Peter’s Community Speakers Series on Difficult Conversations

The Community Speakers Series organized by St. Peter’s Episcopal Church is resuming using the media tool Zoom. The first program in this new series will be at 2:00 PM on Sunday, December 13, and is titled Love in a Time of Coronavirus with presenter Manette Pottle. She will speak to her own experiences of the losses, the challenges, and the unexpected gifts of the pandemic, and what she has learned about maintaining relationships. Attendees will be invited to share their own experiences in small groups followed by a short concluding discussion.

Note that the program begins promptly at 2:00, but you can join as early as 1:30 so that you will have time to adjust your device settings.

Manette is a member of the St. Peter’s community and a documentary film producer with a passion for justice and transformative story-telling. Most recently, she produced the documentary Picture a Scientist, about gender bias and discrimination in the sciences, and was a producer of the evangelical environmentalism documentary Behold the Earth. Prior to film production, she produced the Camden International Film Festival, and for many years operated a sustainable landscaping company and farm in Appleton. She earned her B.A. in photography and critical theory at Yale University.

Future programs will cover end of life issues, family conversations, memory and cognitive decline. These topics surround difficult and sensitive issues that are important but often avoided in conversations even with close family members. Future dates will be in 2021 and will be announced later.

Prepare the Way this Advent

Prepare the Way this Advent

Advent, the season of waiting and preparation for the celebration of Jesus’ nativity, begins on Sunday, November 29. Here are just a couple of examples of the devotional activities, events and resources available online.

An Advent devotional calendar.

Advebt Calendar“With ev’ry passing day, as sunlight disappears, the dusk descends, and prayers ascend for strength to calm our fears”

The hand-drawn Advent calendar that so many look forward to each year from creators Tom Mousin and Merry Watters is available for 2020. Get it here.

Each day on their calendar offers a Scripture reading and a suggested devotion.
You also can subscribe to receive a daily e-mail on the calendar’s devotions, using the link above.

#AdventWord

Other Advent Calendars and Devotions

Way of Love Advent calendar. This Advent calendar accompanies the Journeying the Way of Love Advent curriculum, and offers daily suggestions for engaging in seven “Way of Love” practices: Turn, Learn, Pray, Worship, Bless, Go, Rest. The calendar can be used as a stand-alone resource to keep nearby and refer to every day.

American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem (AFEDJ) Advent calendar offers a glimpse into the lives of Holy Land Christians. Beginning on December 1, AFEDJ will launch a Holy Land Advent calendar to offer a daily glimpse into the lives of Holy Land Christians and the humanitarian ministries of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem. Start each day of Advent with a splash of joy by opening a door to a photo or a brief video and news from one of the Episcopal ministries in the region. Find the calendar at www.afedj.org/advent.

 

Free Community Thanksgiving Dinner

Free Community Thanksgiving Dinner

Our community Thanksgiving Dinner will be from 12:30 PM to 2:00 PM on Thursday, November 26.  It will be the same traditional meal, including roast  turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, squash, cranberry sauce, and lots of pies, but all served as a take-out meal. We will follow the same Covid-19 procedures used by Loaves and Fishes and will serve the meal at the parish hall door by the parking lot.

If you are considering helping or want to provide food, please contact coordinator Lucia Elder at 207-446-2502. If you would like to support this community meal with a donation, you can do so electronically on this website, using this link. You can also send a check, made payable to St. Peter’s Episcopal Church with “Thanksgiving Meal” in the memo line, to St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, 11 White Street, Rockland, ME 04841.

Happy Thanksgiving.